How to pump up the chest? Proper formation of a muscular chest

A well-developed, well-defined and well-shaped chest is perhaps the most aesthetically important muscle group that affects the appearance of any person. It is especially important to properly pump up a man's chest, since this part of the body is usually open for display (in hot weather, at the beach, at home, in training and in general is not censored) and is not corrected by additional clothing (such as a bra).

A well-formed chest, regardless of other muscle groups, makes the torso athletic and powerful. But to achieve such a result is very difficult. In modern gyms, you will be offered a lot of exercises, but few will say which ones will help you pump up your chest beautifully. To do this, you need to be savvy in the structure of muscles and know the principles of their work, so as not to waste time and effort in vain.


  1. Anatomy of the pectoral muscles
  2. Muscles associated with the shoulder joint
  3. Pectoralis major
  4. Pectoralis minor
  5. Autochthonous (intrinsic) muscles< /li>
  6. Bodybuilding Chest Exercise Technique
  7. Rules for Beneficial Work of the Pectoral Muscles
  8. The most important chest building exercises program
  9. Bench press.
  10. Incline bench press
  11. < li class="level-2">Incline Dumbbell Raise

  12. Crossover or Butterfly Raise.
  13. Shaping
  14. Advice for Beginners

Pectoral Anatomy

If you look at exemplary bodybuilders, you will notice that the muscles on the chest protrude in relation to the chest no less than the mammary glands of some women, but at the same time look more than masculine. A special role in this is played by the drawing of the fibers and the division of the pectoralis major muscle into the upper and lower parts.

Muscles associated with the shoulder joint

The muscles of this group lie on the surface and work to flex and bring the humerus to the torso. For us, in terms of growth potential, the pectoral muscles are of greatest interest: large and small.

Pectoralis major

This is the strongest and heaviest muscle of the chest, which has an interesting feature — its fibers are fan-shaped from the shoulder joint to the collarbone, sternum and ribs. Accordingly, this muscle is divided into the upper (clavicular), middle (sternum) and lower (abdominal) parts. Some bodybuilders (such as Franco Columbu) clearly show grooves between these parts — you will learn how to achieve such results in the next part of the exercise technique. In short, such a characteristic structure of muscle fibers makes it necessary to focus on working out the muscle with several exercises or their variations. The entire length of the pectoralis major muscle is easy to feel if you raise your hand — together with the deltoid muscle, it forms the armpit. In this position, the pectoral muscle is able to lift the sternum and ribs, that is, to act as an auxiliary respiratory muscle and expand the chest.

Pectoralis minor

This muscle is located under the pectoralis major muscle, and has a triangular shape. Its initial attachment points are the ends of 3-5 ribs, and the final one is the coracoid process of the scapula. Thus, this muscle causes the scapula to tilt forward, and with proper training, it significantly expands the chest. The work of this muscle can be felt if you put your hand on the ribs a little below the armpit and make a circular movement with your shoulder.

Autochthonous (own) muscles

The chest needs its own muscles to carry out respiratory movements and maintain the skeleton of the chest. They strengthen her joints and protect the gaps between the ribs from mechanical damage. The transverse and hypochondrium muscles are invisible from the outside, but the external and internal intercostal muscles form the corresponding tubercles on the sides of the chest in the athlete, which are clearly visible on a properly pumped up torso without excess fat. But this muscle trains by itself, since the quality of breathing largely depends on it, and with any training, autochthonous muscles become stronger, and holding the breath (isometric contraction) contributes to their increase. That is why the ideal torso is most often found in swimmers and power lifters.

Sometimes the pectoral muscles also include the diaphragm, located on the border of the abdominal and chest cavities. This dome-shaped muscle regulates pressure in both of these cavities, and is responsible for abdominal breathing (when the chest does not expand, but the volume of the lungs increases due to the contraction of the dome of the diaphragm). The diaphragm allows you to use the space of the abdominal cavity during intensive breathing, but this is more typical for men, since in women the function of the diaphragm interferes with the normal course of pregnancy and is evolutionarily weakened. For a bodybuilder, this knowledge is important in order to stimulate thoracic and contain abdominal breathing during training, preventing the diaphragm from pushing out the stomach (which violates the aesthetics of the torso).

Technique for performing chest exercises for a bodybuilder

Specific structure and functioning

As mentioned earlier, the uniqueness of the pectoralis major muscle is associated with its fan-shaped structure. For example, some of its fibers (upper) are attached to the collarbone at an angle of 25o, while others (lower) approach the sternum with a slope of 45o. At the same time, they make up the same muscle, which either contracts entirely in response to a nerve impulse, or does not contract at all in its absence. What, then, is the method of pumping up different parts of the chest based on, if all its parts contract only together and at the same time pull the shoulder in different directions?

This is the uniqueness of the muscles of the chest. When a muscle contracts, depending on the location of the object of resistance, its fibers distribute the load unevenly among themselves. That is, when you do a bench press on a horizontal bench, the middle part of the muscle is most strained, when you do a slope — with each degree of inclination, the upper fibers take on more and more stress, and with a reverse slope, the same thing happens with the lower part of the chest. And the thing is that it is easier for the body to adapt to different types of labor — the variety of applications of the upper limb of a person (and other primates) requires universality from the pectoral muscle.

For a bodybuilder, this feature is very convenient. Think for yourself: in order to shape the muscle on your own, you just need to change the angle of application of the weight. By the way, the same versatility is characteristic of the quadriceps of the thigh — in order to use different sides of this muscle, you need to change the position of the feet when doing squats or leg extensions.

Rules of useful work pectoral muscles

So, let's draw some conclusions from the information received:

To pump up a tough and powerful chest, you need to work on its upper part — that is, on a bench with a slope (here it is worth noting that most athletes do not think about such things and end up with a muscle expanded downwards, while it is the uniform domed shape of the chest that is reference and most attractive).

Bodybuilders who are not familiar with the structure of the muscles believe that the width of the grip of the bar affects the degree of development of the outer and inner chest. This erroneous opinion is refuted by the fact that the fibers of the pectoral muscles run along their entire length, and it is impossible to contract them on one side more than on the other. Thus, the width of the grip only affects the amplitude of the press, and the excellent sensations when working with a narrow and wide grip are due to the fact that the load is distributed differently on the muscles of the shoulders, but not the chest.

Since the shoulder joint , which is aimed at reducing the pectoral muscles, is actively used in training for many other muscle groups, it is necessary to observe the regime of its tension and give it rest at least three days a week. By overloading it with training, you expose yourself to the risk of injury, which will significantly slow down progress.

Arm use is the limiting factor in chest training. Try not to load your forearms and shoulders before chest exercises, because if they run out of steam earlier, the pectoral muscles simply will not be able to show their strength, because it is the arms that are the point of application of this muscle group.

The torso and ribcage are actively worked during many exercises, but especially strongly with the overhead press. You need the intercostals and serratus muscles to support the core pectoral muscles, so you don't need to do an overhead press before chest exercises — the effect is similar to tired arms.

Particular care requires working on a bench with a reverse slope. When working on the lower part of the chest, the loaded shoulder joint does not have an opposite stabilizing muscle group — it is replaced by the muscles of the articular bag of the shoulder. In other positions of the bench, the muscles of the back insure him, but it is easy to see that with the reverse slope, the back remains on top, and the vector of gravity presses only on the shoulder.

chest building exercises

Horizontal bench press.

This exercise plays a major role in pumping up the volume and mass of the pectoral muscles. To maximize the effectiveness of each of your movements, do it like this: first, a vigorous warm-up

— do a couple of stretches and approaches with a light weight for you, stretch your shoulders, waving your arms; then put an average weight on the bar and do 10 lifts; increase the weight by 10 kg each approach, calculating the strength for 4-6 sets of 8-10 repetitions; rest time between sets — 1.5-2 minutes.

Special technique: try not to fix the lift at the top point to keep the muscles in tension from the beginning to the end of the approach. If you keep the weight up or down, you will give your chest muscles unnecessary rest by transferring the load to the triceps. To make this technique easier, grab the barbell with a wide grip and move faster than usual, slowing down a little as you lower the barbell.

Tip: don't chase big masses, as this does not work when building muscles big role. Using a little more than average weight, you protect yourself from overload and injury. In addition, you'll get more reps, giving your muscles time to recover.

Incline Bench Press

And this is the same exercise that will allow you to focus the load on the upper part of the pectoral muscles. The bench should be raised about 45 degrees, and since the muscles are already warmed up and ready to go, immediately take the average weight. For the following approaches, the load can be gradually increased by another 10-20 kilograms. 4-5 sets of 10 repetitions with a pause of a minute and a half are enough.

Inclined dumbbell raise

This is another, more specialized exercise for the upper chest. When lifting the bar with both hands, the back, lower back and abs are included in the work — this is why the working weight becomes so large. But when each arm works separately, the load is more precisely concentrated on the pectoral muscles. In this case, of course, each dumbbell should weigh about a quarter of the weight of the barbell that you lifted before (or a third, if you can afford it). Sets, reps and rest are the same as for the incline press.

A special technique: do not unbend your elbows to the end (otherwise there is a risk of injuring the ligament of the biceps), and after bringing your arms together, straighten them in order to more actively engage the upper bundles of the pectoral muscles.

Crossover or bringing hands together in «Butterfly».

Thanks to this exercise, the internal bundles of the muscles of the chest are worked out, because of which the muscle tissue is actively filled with blood. If the principle of working on the “Butterfly” (“Pek-Dek”) simulator is very simple, then a similar result in the crossover must be achieved using the following technique: grab the handles of the upper block and bring your hands together in front of your chest, bending them strongly at the elbows and tilting the body forward . When resting for a minute and a half, try to complete 5-6 sets of 10-12 reps.

Shaping the relief

The chest muscles do not require a special drying program. To draw the relief, it is enough to slightly speed up the process of training and increase their number by 1.5-2 times (for example, instead of 4 — 8, or instead of 8 — 12 workouts per month). Along the way, of course, it is worth reducing your carbohydrate intake by about a quarter.

Advice for beginners

Each more or less experienced athlete will advise the beginner, first of all, not to go too far in striving for the result. But the simplicity of this truth usually melts before the valiant “but I can”, “I want to be the best” and so on. Therefore, we will not argue that a novice athlete needs long boring months to prepare his body for accomplishments — please strive and achieve! But there are principles that should be based on the first time of training: focus on the first two exercises from the list (bench press and angle press) as the most effective for gaining mass and power; gradually increase working weights; for the first six months, do not do more than 2-3 sets of each exercise in one workout; add one approach at a time if your experience has exceeded a year, and then you can already act at your discretion, since a year's practice is enough to gain a sense of your own body; always strictly observe the technique of performing exercises.

If you manage to follow these simple rules, then the result will not be slow to appear, and the time and effort spent will pay off handsomely — a beautiful, muscular and powerful chest will decorate your body.

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